Bengaluru: Two news channels in Karnataka have alleged that they were taken off air in Bengaluru for several hours on the state government’s orders.
TV9 and NEWS9 – both belonging to the TV9 group – allege that cable operators blacked them out on Monday night in Bengaluru and surrounding areas. After criticism and backlash, both are back on air.
TV9 has alleged that the operators acted on a directive from the state Energy Minister DK Shivakumar but the government has denied it.
“The action of the cable operators emanates from a meeting between them and Karnataka minister for Energy D K Shivakumar a few days ago, at which the minister ordered them to stop telecasting TV9 and NEWS9. He threatened them that the government will impose heavy penalties on them if they did not stop telecasting TV9 and News9. As a consequence, the cable operators’ association sent the following directive to its members on Monday,” a press release issued by the channel said.
The minister was accused of telling operators that the channels had been working against industry standards. The channel alleged that it was being punished for airing an investigation against Mr Shivakumar.
Former union minister and Congress leader Janardhan Poojary on Tuesday criticized D K Shivakumar for the alleged orders to ban the two news channels.
Addressing a press meet in Mangaluru, Poojary said, “D K Shivakumar is curbing the freedom of the press. Media is an important part of the democracy.”
“The Indian Constitution clearly states the freedom of the press in Article 19 (1) (A). D K Shivakumar needs to read it,” he added.
“While taking oath as minister you (DKS) promised to respect and abide by the Constitution. Now you have done a mistake. Every human being commits mistake, but greatness lies in accepting them. Even Mahatma Gandhi committed mistakes and accepted them, so did Indira Gandhi after the Emergency,” he said.
Addressing DKS further, he said, “If you admit your mistake, will anyone behead you? The chief minister is doing good work in the state, do not embarrass him and the party with such actions. The Congress party has given you power.
“If this issue is raised in the Parliament it will be a matter of shame to Sonia Gandhi,” he added.
“You (DKS) are trying to spoil the image of the party. Correct your mistakes, I am saying this as your well-wisher,” he said.
“The CM should intervene in this matter. Freedom of press keeps democracy alive. Do you want to murder democracy?” he questioned DKS.